adventures with plam
Although it wasn't an alpine start by any means, I made an effort to get out early. We didn't quite catch the golden hour (golden two hours?) but still managed to avoid noon light. After getting some croissants at the boulangerie, I realized that renting the bikes at the hotel was quite clever; no bike rental place was open as we passed by. We made it to the village part of Carnac by 8:45 (vs the beach part of Carnac, where the hotel was.)I figured that before we went to see thousands of rocks in lines, it would be good to start with a single rock. Off we went to the menhir Kerderff. GPS is super useful. We left our bikes by the edge of a field and walked towards said rock. The French government lets you know that the rock is state property (using another rock). Our first menhir! Just sitting there by itself in the middle of the field. You can walk right up to the less popular rocks. (You cannot camp in the field, though.)
Next up was the biggest rock alignment, Menec. We rolled up on our bicycles and dodged a tour group. Yep. Lots of rocks. No access to these rocks in May; you can look at them from behind a fence. In March you can open the gate and go right in.
It's not that unusual to see over a thousand rocks, but it is unusual to see over a thousand rocks sorted by height and placed in rows by people, thousands of years ago. Sometimes there's a house among the middle of the rocks. Or a restaurant.
Walking around the back side of the alignments, we came across a sign by the Free Menhir association. It looks like they successfully fought the construction of Menhirland a few years ago. Not so sure about their goal of removing all of the fences, though. Do they not know what people always do?
We also got an excellent view from the top of an old mill, now set up as a publicly-accessible lookout.
Bicycles are great. We could follow the alignments past the end of Menec and onto Kermaio (1029 rocks) and Kerlescan (555), where we could park our bikes, admire the lawnmowers/sheep, and walk among the stones (because no one goes there; they're busy taking the tourist "tram" aka bus.)
Our maps suggested that the Kercado tumulus might also be interesting. Back on the bikes, to visit some 6000 year old structures (somewhat rebuilt). Interesting to go inside. (Not objectively interesting; it's just a cave made of rocks; but interesting due to its history). The roof was known as the Tables des Marchand and allegedly had some inscriptions on it.
Next up was the Quadrilatère and the Geant de Manio. Not pictured: biking past the people riding horses at the horse farm and trying to pet the horses.
Continuing along the road, the next sensible target was the Kermaquer dolmen, which was right on the D186. The entrance is from behind, though, so even though Google told us where it was, we had a sketchy hill to climb and some bushes to walk through.
It was still quite early: all these rocks and not even noon yet. What to do? More rocks, of course. Back towards Menec and then up to Keriaval, which was 7500 years old. Google took us through some back roads and then off-road (again), but we eventually got there. The last 500m involved a giant puddle, too. The ride back was uneventful.
We still had 3 hours before the bus at 5:30PM which would eventually get us to Paris. I tried to rent a boat or windsurfer at the Yacht Club Carnac, which would provide this service if it hadn't been exceptionally closed that day. I should've read the sign the previous day. I also tried to find Saint-Co Windsurf, but I think it's three guys and a van. So if you call them ahead of time, they'll probably bring you a board. But you can't just find them at their nonexistant store. It was still a good opportunity to ride the bike around the beach.
The bus got us back to Auray, and then we took the low-cost idTGV back to Paris. (By the way, there are three Novotels near CDG. This is terrible for finding the one that you have a reservation at.)